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Tag: 2018

Rebecca Simons: Letters from the past


Rebecca Simons: Letters from the Past
an exhibition at Platform/Filmverkstaden project and event space, Kirkkopuistikko 20, Vaasa

Opening night 08.12.2018 at 18:30. Welcome!

The exhibition is open: 4-23 Dec / Mon-Fri 13.00-18.00 & Sat-Sun 12.00-16.00

In 1946 a woman writes to her newfound love: “Now it seems just a dream that you were ever here, but what a dream it was! These have been the most wonderful days I have ever experienced.” Sixty years later her granddaughter receives a reply from the same man: “When you see who is writing, I hope it doesn’t disgust you so much that you refuse to read on. I get no peace of mind if you can’t forgive me….”  

Life is not always as black and white as the Hollywood idea. As reality seeps in, so do the nuances of grey, clouding our clear distinctions between good and evil, right and wrong. ​​In Letters from the Past we meet a gentleman, a funny grandfather, vulnerable children, broken hearts, forgotten feelings, menacing but also hopeful letters and thoughts. The protagonist is both someone’s ideal man and another’s offender. Clashing realities dating through half a century are braided together in an installation and linear-narrative film.

Letters from the Past is a multimedia project by Rebecca Simons. Since 2016 she has been collecting and recording a part of family history that we usually choose to leave untold. With this project she wants to encourage others to speak out, yet not stop at the act of pointing a finger but to open the conversation and break circles in order to avoid history repeating itself.



Concept & curation: Rebecca Simons
Video & photography: Rebecca Simons / Henrik Selin
and the family’s home videos.
Production advice: Jukka Rajala-Granstubb / Elin Grönblom/ Melissa Prins
Video editing: Rebecca Simons / Bo Forsander
Music & sound design: Viljam Nybacka
Graphic design: Nick Kailola
Text editing: Rodney Bolt
Color correction:Bo Forsander
Voice of Tete: Anna Högström
Voice of Henko: Axel Hanses
Exhibition production: Andréas Bergdahl
Educational program: Rebecca Simons / Cecilia Flygars, Klaara

Much gratitude and love to my brave family for daring to share our story!


The project is made possible by Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Arts Promotion Centre (Taike) and Platform. The educational project is developed in collaboration with the youth organization Klaara.

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Amal Laala Returns

Thursday 15 November at 7pm

A video work

Some talking

An activity

Amal Laala was a resident artist at Platform in 2010. Amal is visiting Finland from her current home of Australia and we thought it would be nice to catch up on her activities the past 8 years.

Amal Laala is a socially engaged, site-specific artist, whose work is often temporary and fleeting, revolving around current social issues, experimentation and play.

In 2010 she said, “My current work in progress is “Father, Father, Father”, where I am investigating how stories can be told and interpreted, ranging from spiritual, political to personal. During my residency at Platform I will continue developing these central themes of storytelling, family and interpretation. Investigating my Finnish grandparents and their past, I am to research elements of their lives using the little information I have.”

What is she up to now? Come and find out. It will be worth it, we promise.



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Buffer Zones, I like it. I hope you like it too.

Part One and Part Two

There is no difference between the two parts except the works shown.

Selected by Juliana Irene Smith 

Platform Project Space, Kirkkopuistikko 20, Vaasa, Finland


Thursday 1 November 2018 @ 7 – 9pm

Thursday 6 December 2018 @ 7 – 9pm

Bridget Baker, Basim Magdy, Dana Levy, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Ed Young, Anetta Mona Chisa + Lucia Tkacova, Liza Grobler, Bashar Alhroub, Nico Athene, Abri de Swardt, Nisrine Boukhari, Antonia Brown, Samah Hijawi, Francois Knoetze, Daria Tchapanova, and Purity Zinhle Mkhize

‘Buffer zones have various purposes, political or otherwise. They can be set up to prevent violence, protect the environment, protect residential and commercial zones from industrial accidents or natural disasters.’ (Platform Statement.)

Buffer Zones is the theme for the 2018 – 2019 Platform residency and project space. In all honesty, I feel like I am constantly buffering my zones.

Where do you find your buffer? And what if it is gone, taken away? What is left?

The artists that were asked to participate, I have had the opportunity to meet in person or work with. I like them, I like their work, and I can tell you more about them, or where they live; a personal anecdote perhaps. The works are not curated in the sense of a perfect rhythmic or narrative flow from one to the other. Each work has an individual strength, power, yet the crash and clash of bodies, situations, animals, ritual, technology, environment and everything, it becomes quiet, disturbing and romantic all in one.  

Perhaps the answer is in the space between us, or in the work and in how we utilize and negotiate our personal buffers, which leads us to the state we want to be (out of the buffer zone and safe)… just a thought.

The new space is supported by Svenska Kulturfonden, Svensk Österbottniska Samfundet, Kulturösterbotten and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

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Just Follow These Instructions And You Will Be Fine

Just Follow These Instructions And You Will Be Fine (on the night)
Instructions courtesy of the “History Will Be Kind To Me For I Intend To Perform It” artists and curators:
Leena Kela (Finland), Márcio Carvalho (Portugal), Christian Etongo (Cameroon), Serge Olivier Fokoua (Cameroon/Canada), Diana Soria Hernandez (Finland/Mexico), Gøril Wallin (Norway), Hiroko Tsuchimoto (Japan)

Performed by Anthea Moys and, if you like, you.

Moys, a South African artist well-known for performing her failures across the globe, will now attempt to perform, with you, a set of specific instructions given to her by her fellow artists. For the travelling “History will be kind to me for I intend to perform it” project, Anthea has recorded various instructions from each artist/curator in order to learn more about their performance practice. The instructors could choose to give instructions for any of the following provocations:

How to prepare for a performance
How to do a performance
How to recover from a performance

From these recordings, she has created a score, which she will herself attempt to perform with you on the night. The work aims to reveal the process of listening and learning through laughter and play, with and from the other. It also experiments with trial and error and practical performative exchange as a playful way to practice decolonization.

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Opening of The New Space

Platform together with Filmverkstaden have initiated a new public space for contemporary art in the center of Vaasa.

We are happy to invite you for the opening of the new space and enjoy an evening filled with sound, film, and performance art.


15-18:00 Clay + Beer: ceramics workshop open for all in all ages
19:00 performance by Meri Linna (FIN) with students of the Nordic Art School
20:00 sound art by Antti Tolvi (FIN)
21:00 live cinema by Natalia Koziel (PL/FIN)

Clay + Beer
Come and get your hands dirty while you have a drink or a coffee.
Low key way of getting to know the way of clay.

Meri Linna w/ students of the Nordic Art School
Nordic Art School in Kokkola will be closing down this autumn after providing almost 35 years of high quality art education. The last remaining students together with teacher Meri Linna will do a performance during this evening. “We are processing and communicating to others about our experience of what has happened.”

Antti Tolvi is a Finnish experimental musician and sound artist with a long and varied history in the scene stretching back to 2002. He has performed with Rauhan Orkesteri, Kiila, LAU NAU, Avarus, Keijut and many more. As an artist he seems to excel at finding the very peaceful elements of the reality we live in and even at his most chaotic, he’s never nervous. Tolvi is also a taiji, qigong and zen meditation instructor. At the opening of the new space, he will combine the rich sound world of the Gong Symbols and electronic sounds into a meditative whole.

Natalia Koziel is a Helsinki-based artist from Polish origin. Educated as a printmaker, she finds herself mostly working with the analogue machinery of slide-, overhead-, super 8mm, 16mm and 35mm film projectors. Through those optical tools, she delivers her print-making actions. She is fascinated by the film history, nature, chemistry and various film related materials. Her works have been shown nationally and internationally and she has performed at numerous events.

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Platform Live @Kuntsi w/ Yassine Khaled & Filmverkstaden

During the Night of the Arts in Vaasa Platform together with Filmverkstaden will introduce the collaboration “Platform Live @Kuntsi” that will be spanning throughout the fall of 2018. Platform has invited Yassine Khaled and his performance Monitor Man. Filmverkstaden will present their current Artists in residence Aga Jarząb & Maciek Bączyk. They mainly explore analogue animation techniques such as hand-drawn, cut-out or direct cinema and enjoy manual contact with film and production process itself. kinoMANUAL creates films and objects that correspond with a rich tradition of moving images, kinetic art and experimental cinema.

kinoMANUAL live show is an audiovisual concert consisting of minimalist and experimental music played on unusual analogue EMS synthesizer and animated visuals based on kinoMANUAL short films.

Monitor Man, Yassine Khaled creates an embodiment of virtual communication in public space. The artist wears a helmet affixed with an iPad, which offers a real-time connection to a person outside of Europe and Western world. Using technology and his own body, Khaled’s performance transgresses actual, national borders which separate people. The performance is an opportunity for people to meet with someone who is physically far away and restricted in their freedom of movement. Monitor Man was inspired by the current refugee crisis and how it is unfolding in relation to the internet, social media, and the omnipresence of technology. The project began on the streets of Helsinki, but is ongoing, as the artist presents the work in different locations around the Western world.



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‘Letters from the Past’ at Platform

“I don’t think it should matter whether you are family or not, if you like someone you like someone”

A grandfather, 2009

When a man becomes an abuser his story changes, but does that negate the rest of what the man is, or other stories from his past? Does the act make him what he is, or is he something despite it?

These are two of the key questions I wrestled with during my artist-in-residency at Platform, in Vaasa, Finland, in February-March 2018. During my stay I continued working on the multimedia project ‘Letters from the Past’, which I had started the previous year. I developed a visual concept for an installation and a structure for a linear video, and produced new photographic work. In addition, I held a workshop for art students in Vaasa, during which they produced ‘projection portraits’, a technique I apply in my project.

In Hollywood there is a clear line between good guys and bad guys, and it is easy to know whose side you are on. Life, however, is less black and white, and as more nuances of grey appear it becomes harder to position oneself. ‘Letters from the Past’ focuses on a story of sexual abuse within the family, and the complex feelings and relationships that emerge when the perpetrator is a family member. How do you write off a grandparent, a husband, a father? It is often easier to sweep the conversation under the carpet than to tackle the elephant in the living room.

In my project we meet the elephant in the living room, but we also meet a gentleman, a funny grandfather, faithful children, vulnerable grandchildren, broken hearts, forgotten feelings, menacing but also hopeful letters and thoughts. The protagonist is portrayed in a variety of roles: he is both someone’s ideal man and another’s offender. Various memories and conversations dating through half a century, captured in letters and on tape, are braided together in an installation and linear video. My aim is to present the viewer with the same dilemma that victims of family violence are confronted with – an unexpected course of events and clashing realities to which the viewer has to relate and somehow work out how to assimilate.

The ongoing #metoo discussion and Finnish equivalents #dammenbrister and #memyös show that sexual harassment is common. This is supported by studies indicating that an estimated 83-102 million women in the EU have experienced sexual harassment; 12% of them say that they experienced sexual violence before the age of 15, from an adult perpetrator.¹ Last year, 1,170  sexual crimes against children were reported in Finland² – yet most instances are never reported. It is estimated that 90% of the sexual abuse of children is never reported to the authorities.³ Fear, guilt and shame frequently stand in the way, and children often are and remain loyal to the one who has abused them.

Through my multimedia project ‘Letters from the Past’, I hope to open some doors for a wider and more nuanced discussion on sexual harassment, by not only pointing at the abuser, but also looking at how we relate to the complexity of the situation. The broader context addresses questions about how our identity is formed through family history and how trauma can be passed down through generations.

Rebecca Simons,


“Despite all it was still important for me that he could meet my son. I put my feelings aside and I took many nice photos where my son is sitting on his lap. It was a beautiful moment despite all.”

Sister of a victim of sexual harassment by their grandfather, 2015


¹“Violence against women: an EU-wide survey” conducted by FRA (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights), 2014

²‘Development of certain types of offences in 2013 to 2017 (preliminary data)’ Corrected on 13 April 2018 by Statistics Finland

³ “Detta borde alla veta om sexuella övergrepp mot barn”, Rädda Barnen, 2016

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RE:SET – Artistic research project by Donia Jourabchi and Dewi De Vree

‘Re: set’ is an artistic research project focussing on sound in relation to atmospheric phenomena by Donia Jourabchi (BE) and Dewi de Vree (NL) in the context of the Platform Residency in Vaasa, Finland 2017/2018.

‘Reset’ stands for ‘adjust’, ‘starting anew’, ‘restoring to zero’. In the context of this project it stands for the reduction of stimuli from the senses. ‘Resetting the senses’, which is conducive to meditative state and lets us become aware of the slightest details and changes of the sensory input we receive from the environment. This ‘nothingness’ is the starting point from which we let this project emerge.

During a period of a Month in November 2017 and February 2018 we have been immersing ourselves into the minimal and quiet landscapes of Ostrobothnia, at the West-coast of Finland. Being invited by the artist residency Platform in Vaasa, we received the time and space to start up a new site specific project in the Old Soap Factory.

The first working period in November 2017 our focus was on geological features of the area. Very inspiring fact for us was to learn that the land of Finland is growing a centimeter each year; “When the ice retreated from Fennoscandia more than 10,000 years ago, the Earth’s crust was depressed half a kilometer due to the weight of the ice which was 2 kilometers thick. When the ice melted, the crust began to rise, and the recovery still continues.” We visited various geologically interesting places in the area of Vaasa and collected visual and audio material for our to be made work.

The second period took place in February 2018. When we arrived, the landscape had totally changed and was covered with snow and lakes and bays were covered with a thick layer of ice. The land had expanded and new areas are reachable for us to explore. The sky and the white land became a canvas for beautiful color palettes, continuously changing gradients throughout the day. This time our focus was more on atmospheric phenomena, the interaction between light and the different physical states of water during different times of the day.

During our stay we have been experimenting and recreating the phenomena that we experienced outdoors in a miniature lab-setup in the former Soap Factory. Light reflections on ephemeral substances like mist and melting ice, trying out different wave guides on smoke and vapor and making interference patterns by combining different layers of wave projections.

More information about de Vree’s and Jourabchi’s research can be found on the project webpage.

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